Tuesday, December 30, 2014


Our first wedding of the year! [Meredith and Ryan]
Chelcie and Mike got engaged!
They started a trend...
Traveled to Baton Rouge to see one of my favorite people.
We rode bikes (and fought about it).
Nicole and I ran a marathon... Oh wait, I just cheered.
Dane proposed.

I said yes!
We celebrated.
We took pictures.

A day I thought would never would come...

Peri graduated too!
Jamie and Alex joined in on the engagement fun!
Lindsey got married!

We bought a house... WHAT?
Thomas and Laurie Lee got married!
Logan and Braxton got married!
Jessie and I chased a storm (and got caught in it) in Hilton Head.
I met ALL the Winbornes!
Chelcie got married!

I gained a wonderful new friend/co-worker.

Dane's first TN Valley Fair experience.

We cheered on the Vols.
Dane lost some teeth and became homeless?
We checkered Neyland.
I was showered.
Marriage License.
We rehearsed.
We were really loved on by our friends.

I married my best friend.

We went on a mini-moon.

Cheered on the Vols some more.

Jamie got married!
Lots of rings... Crazy!
Nick and Robyn got married... I was the honorary groomsman.
I got to see another sweet student of mine get baptized.
I actually managed to send Christmas cards.
Got my first real Christmas tree!
We spent our first Christmas together (until he went to work)!

[Not pictured: We also celebrated Laura and Ron, Mary and Adam, Andrea and Jaz, Derek and Margo at their weddings (some we had to attend separately), along with a few other weddings we unfortunately had to miss. Dane got a job, I got a new class.]

Big things happened this year! We are so very thankful. 

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Teaching: Year 1

Teaching on your own is a whole lot different than the internship year. Yes, it prepared me a lot, and for that I am thankful... but seriously, I was working with not one, not two, but three and sometimes even four other teachers... doing everything together. So doing it on my own this year is... a little scary. It's never scary in the moment, but me-oh-my when I start thinking about the education (and lives) of these 19 kids being in my hands alone for 7+ hours of the day... YIKES! I don't know if they've learned a thing... but we (or maybe it's just me) love every minute of it!

The sad thing is that the "teaching atmosphere" is so negative right now... people complaining, all. day. long. I get it- it's frustrating that we, as teachers, are scored on test scores and exhausting rubrics that don't allow us to be "good enough." BUT I am a brand new teacher, and I could use some encouragement. On my FIRST day, other teachers were telling me that I chose the wrong profession... that it is worse than it's ever been... that they cry every day... the list goes ON AND ON.

Thankfully, I was taught the TEAM rubric in school... it's all I've ever known. It pushes me to be a better teacher... but what really pushes me to be a better teacher is my students. Hopefully, that's why we all chose this profession in the first place. I am thankful for teachers that are speaking up and "revolting," as the Metro Pulse said, because they DO want the heart of the matter to be the students... but all this negativity in the school system HAS to be affecting these kids too. It is contagious. For the sake of our children, let's stop the complaining... at least in the school... while the kids are there. Save it for when they're not around because it affects your mood... and for at least 7 hours a day, these kids are affected by YOUR mood.

Do all things without grumbling or disputing, that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world, holding fast to the word of life, so that in the day of Christ I may be proud that I did not run in vain or labor in vain.
Philippians 2:14-16

Stay positive, fellow teachers. Remember why you chose this profession. It's for the kids... Let's not allow them to suffer because we are suffering. One of the best lessons we can teach them is to choose joy. 

Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.
James 1:2-4

I know that I am young and my thoughts carry little weight. I know that things need to be different. Most of all, though, I know that I just want to love my kids hard for 7 hours a day, 5 days a week... my hours are much longer than that, but those are the minutes (every one of them) that count. 

There is a lot that I am thankful for every day. Not just in this season of Thanksgiving. One being that I have this job. There is nothing else I would rather be doing. I am so thankful that God allowed me to see His calling for me early in life so that I could pursue it. I am thankful that He has given me such a passion for what I do. I am thankful for how obsessed I am with my kids. Thankful that I could not be any more in love with what I do...

I am thankful for a boyfriend that supports me in putting my kids first, even when it means he doesn't get much of my attention. Thankful that he loves my kids (almost) as much as I do (only because it's not possible for anyone to quite reach my level of love for them). I am thankful for a supportive family that encourages me not to get frustrated with the system.

Thankful for the chosen few teachers that are still staying positive.


Monday, May 13, 2013

"What we have loved, others will love, and we will teach them how."

I found the above quote in a book I was reading about teaching kids to love to read... which is perhaps one of the top five most important things that I hope my students will learn in my classroom. More than that, though, I want them to learn that they are dearly loved. They will be dearly loved by me, undoubtedly, but most importantly, they are perfectly loved by Jesus. I want them to see how much Jesus loves them through me, and if that is the only thing they learn during a year in my classroom, that is okay. (I probably won't keep a job for very long if that is the only thing they learn, but that's okay too...) My duty as a teacher is to teach them the state standards, but my duty as a person is to teach them how to live and make decisions, and my duty as a disciple is to show them God's love and grace and mercy. Maybe the title of this post is a quote about reading, but I want to teach my students how to have a relationship with and love Jesus by living my life in a way that glorifies Him.

I graduated... from UT... for the second time. This time I walked, so I have some pictures to show for it! Maybe this Master's Degree will get me a job so I can love on some kiddos of my own this fall! It's scary how fast the time goes... and it's scary that I am entering "THE REAL WORLD." I'm just trusting the Lord to provide, like He always does, and looking forward to seeing what He has in store for me! I think He is a more sturdy, trustworthy foundation for me to count on than that degree! :)

Here's to some of the people who helped me survive this year!